Rotary Charities and Rotary Camps & Services Announce New Executive Director

Traverse City, MI – Rotary Charities and Rotary Camps & Services are pleased to announce the selection of Becky Ewing as their next joint Executive Director. She will be succeeding Marsha Smith who is retiring in December after 25 years of service to the organization. Ewing is currently serving as the Associate Director of Rotary Charities.

“Becky’s strong leadership and long experience with both Rotary Charities and Camps & Services are critical to the many initiatives we currently have underway,” said Elaine Wood, chairperson of Rotary Charities. “We’re looking forward to having her expertise at the helm.”

A succession planning committee, comprised of board members of Rotary Charities and Camps & Services, as well as leadership from the Traverse City Noon Rotary Club has been meeting since January. Their recommendation to promote Becky was unanimously approved by both boards, earlier this month.

The Succession Planning Committee saw the challenges and potential changes that lie ahead for both organizations and felt that the Executive Director position needed someone who has the history, context, relationships and community connections in place – someone who could hit the ground running. Considering the critical evolution point for each organization, the Succession Planning Committee focused its efforts on Becky Ewing. Ms. Ewing has already led the organization twice during the Executive Director’s extended leaves.

Ms. Ewing has been at the table, helping to lead the strategy for both Rotary organizations for most of her ten-year tenure.

“Becky has an energetic and warm leadership style,” said Sharron Zimmerman, chairperson of Rotary Camps and Services. “She has a great blend of organizational history and innovative approaches and perspectives. Her background in science and in community growth will fit well with the changes ahead throughout Rotary. I cannot think of a better person.”

For the past 10 years, Becky has been a key part of the team at Rotary Charities, and a Rotarian. She served as a Program Officer, leading up to her current role as Associate Director. Prior to joining Rotary Charities, she developed partnerships and programs for the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute at Northwestern Michigan College. She has worked with the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce on smart growth issues.  Ms. Ewing also co-owned an environmental consulting firm for 15 years.

Becky has lived in Traverse City for 50 years, served on nonprofit boards and worked as a community volunteer.  Her degrees include a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Literature, both from Grand Valley State University. On Big Ten game day, she bleeds green – being the daughter, sister and mother of MSU grads.  She is an avid runner, reader and connector. Having grown up in a family that camped, hiked, and explored; one of her favorite things is to be in nature, looking for morels, rocks and birds.

“Working for Rotary Charities and Camps & Services for the past ten years has been a gift and being part of the 40-year tradition of making good things happen in our region is truly an honor,” said Becky Ewing. “As we advance our transformational work, I look forward to collaborating with our boards, Rotarians, grantees and the community to continue making a positive impact on the people we serve.”

In February, during a joint strategic planning session leadership from both boards expressed clear agreement that continuing the shared Executive Director position fosters improved collaboration and adds efficiency to the operations of each entity. Becky’s intent is to retire in two to three years, which allows both organizations time to sharpen their strategy, make some big decisions, and show progress on their direction. The boards’ intent is to perform a national search as Becky’s tenure winds down.

During this past year, Becky has led Rotary Charities through key changes, moving the organization into strategic, systems-based grant making and community engagement. Later this spring, Rotary will be announcing its fall grant cycle and some other exciting programs and recognition opportunities to benefit the region it serves.

“Becky is the right person at the right time to carry forward the important work of these two Rotary organizations,” said Marsha Smith, current Executive Director of both Rotary Charities and Camps & Services. “Her leadership has already helped shape our thinking and emerging direction. I am thrilled with the boards’ selection, and I’m confident she will continue the Rotary tradition of community impact.”